The gold you see in jewellery is actually gold alloy. Lylie's Ltd alloys our own Salvaged Gold, which means we can control the colour. We are delighted to share a list of the alloys we use: Salvaged Gold [Au], Salvaged Silver [Ag], Zinc [Zn], Silicon [Si], Copper Boron [Cu/B] and Copper [Cu].
Pure Gold is very soft which makes it unsuitable for most jewellery. To make it stronger, it is mixed with other metals, such as silver, copper, zinc and palladium. This is called alloying.
The carat (ct) tells you how many parts of gold and how many parts of other metal are in the gold alloy. Don't confuse this with the carat weight of diamonds and gemstones. In the United States carat is spelt karat (kt). One carat is one part of 24, or 41.66 parts of a thousand. 9ct Gold is 375 parts Gold per thousand parts. 14ct Gold is 585 parts per thousand. 18ct Gold is 750 parts per thousand. 24 carat Gold is pure gold.
24 carat (fineness 999) or 99.9% Gold
22 carat (fineness 916) or 91.6% Gold
18 carat (fineness 750) or 75% Gold
14 carat (fineness 585) or 58.5% Gold
9 carat (fineness 375) or 37.5% Gold
While yellow gold is still probably the most popular colour of gold, by mixing gold with other alloys, we can create white gold and rose gold.
YELLOW GOLD - The natural colour of gold is by far the most popular shade used in jewellery making. Yellow gold is usually alloyed with copper and silver, to strengthen it and give the jewellery longevity. The shade of the gold depends on its gold content and 18 carat gold generally has a richer yellow colour than 9 carat.
ROSE GOLD - Also known as red gold and pink gold, this shade became popular in Russia at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century and is often referred to as Russian Gold. Made by adding copper to yellow gold, the higher the copper content, the stronger the red in the colour and the shade can vary from carat to carat. 9 carat is usually much pinker than the 18 carat Gold.
WHITE GOLD - Usually created by adding palladium, silver and copper, the colour is not white like platinum but more of a light grey steel colour. These days, jewellers often plate white gold with rhodium (a member of the platinum family) to enhance its colour. We'd advise against this, as its harmful to the environment and the rhodium plating wears off and needs re-plating regularly.
Please note, external brands featured on our journal, Footnotes, have no affiliation to Lylie’s unless otherwise stated. Any sentiments expressed are the opinions of Lylie and her editorial team.